Tectonic synthesis and contextual setting for the Central North Sea and adjacent onshore areas, 21CXRM Palaeozoic Project

Leslie, A.G.; Millward, D.; Pharaoh, T.; Monaghan, A.A.; Arsenikos, S.; Quinn, M.. 2015 Tectonic synthesis and contextual setting for the Central North Sea and adjacent onshore areas, 21CXRM Palaeozoic Project. British Geological Survey, 30pp. (CR/15/125N) (Unpublished)

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This report is designed simply to provide a summary tectonic outline and contextual setting against which offshore seismic and well data relating to the Devono-Carboniferous evolution of the Central North Sea, Forth Approaches, and adjacent UK onshore region can be considered. This summary is intended to help better frame the questions that will arise during interrogation of that data; the findings that result from that analysis are presented elsewhere in the report series (Arsenikos et al., 2015; Kimbell & Williamson, 2015; Monaghan et al., 2015). Apparently contradictory, wrench- or extension-dominated patterns of Lower Carboniferous basin development are recorded in the Forth Approaches, Quadrant 29, North Dogger and Silverpit basins of the Central North Sea, as well as the Midland Valley of Scotland (MVS) and Northumberland and Solway basins onshore. Partitioning Carboniferous deformation across inherited pre-existing Caledonian or Tornquist structures is likely to be an important control on the tectonic architecture developed in these regions during intervals of the geological record in the Carboniferous. Onshore, spatially separate but contemporaneous domains of extension-dominated tectonics versus wrench-dominated tectonics explain the contrasting tectonic framework of the MVS/Forth Approaches region (wrench-dominated) compared with Northumberland Basin (classic ‘stags head’ structure). NE-SW trending Caledonian inheritance strongly controls the domain boundaries and the patterns of deformation created in each of these domains. Offshore, in the Devono-Carboniferous basins of the Central North Sea, the likelihood that strain is partitioned in a similar way across features inherited from the NW-SE Tornquist trend is proposed and examined. The data currently under consideration suggests that a NW-SE trending wrench-dominated domain is spatially associated with the region underlain by the Dogger Granite pluton; domains affected by extension-dominated tectonics appear to be arranged on either side of that feature, namely the Quadrant 29 and North Dogger basins to the NE, and the Silverpit Basin to the SW. Extension is expressed as a NE-SW directed stretch in both of these domains. Patterns of broadly N-S trending fold axes need to be carefully assessed in terms of their structural setting, as folding cannot implicitly be linked with inversion/compression when partitioned strains are developed. Superficially similar features can develop in the MVS in dextral transpression, in north Northumberland buttressed around the Cheviot Granite in overall dextral wrench, and as superimposed late compressional folds in end-Variscan convergence, for example in the Boldon syncline of County Durham. Offshore, similar inversion effects can be seen in the patterns of transpressive faulting associated with features such as the Murdoch Ridge, and with examples of superimposed NE-SW trending extensional faults active in the latest Carboniferous to early Permian.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Funders/Sponsors: British Geological Survey
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This report is a published product of the 21st Century Exploration Road Map (21CXRM) Palaeozoic project. This joint industry-Government-BGS project comprised a regional petroleum systems analysis of the offshore Devonian and Carboniferous in the North Sea and Irish Sea. Report made open April 2017
Date made live: 03 Apr 2017 15:04 +0 (UTC)

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